On Mobile, Black Friday Matters More Than Cyber Monday

By Guest Comment

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When you’re a consumer tech company planning your Q4 marketing budget, it’s easy to think of Black Friday as a relic of the brick-and-mortar world: people waiting at the doors at Best Buy or laden with shopping bags from Macy’s, buying for others or for themselves.

Given the world in which you work, you might instinctively focus your marketing efforts on Black Friday’s younger, modern cousin, Cyber Monday.

But think again if you’re marketing on mobile, or running promotions aimed at the mobile shopper: Data shows that when it comes to mobile sales, Black Friday outpaces Cyber Monday.

Black Friday Emerges as a Mobile Powerhouse

Overall, mobile traffic on Black Friday was higher than Cyber Monday last year, and Black Friday online sales as whole saw even more growth year-over-year. For some businesses, the growth was quite dramatic. For IBM, Black Friday mobile sales accounted for 27.9 percent of total online sales, which was up 28.2 percent over 2013, and for Adobe, about 27 percent of its sales on Black Friday came from mobile devices.

When we looked closely at our own data, it was clear that it was in keeping with this trend. The top commerce app on AppLovin’s network had 47 percent higher sales totals on Black Friday over Cyber Monday. The trend was even more pronounced when we looked at the total spent on AppLovin’s all-mobile network (which includes in-app purchases from games): Last year, Black Friday outpaced Cyber Monday by 57 percent.

But it’s important to understand, from a consumer behavior perspective, why Black Friday yields more sales on mobile than Cyber Monday.

Fridays Are Mobile Paydays

First of all, generally speaking, Fridays are always better than Mondays when it comes to shopping on mobile, a fact that flies in the face of the conventionally held wisdom that Mondays are the best day for online sales. (Should you want to get even more granular on timing during weekdays, then you should know that mobile shopping activity in the U.S. spikes around 9 a.m., noon, and 7 p.m.)

Then think about what consumers are actually doing on that Black Friday, and how that might account for the success of mobile sales that day. They’re typically not at work, which means they’re either at home digesting turkey, or they’re on their phones. Or more likely, both. Either way, they have idle moments during which they turn to their phones.

Compare that with Cyber Monday, when consumers are back at work. They might sneak a bit of shopping in another tab on their desktop while they are working, but they likely have less time to pull out their phones to browse and buy like they do on Black Friday.

Consumers Don’t Want to Miss a Deal Because They Waited Til Monday

While consumers know there will be deals the following Monday, they don’t know what they will be, and if any inventory of what they want will be left. Waiting for Monday is risky. They’re much more likely then to “pull the trigger” on something they want with a Black Friday sale.

Advertise a deal on Black Friday and then if consumers act, send other relevant deals on Cyber Monday. A good experience will keep your users happy and loyal, and they won’t have to deal with standing in long lines.

So now that you know why Black Friday is bigger on mobile for consumers, let’s talk about what you can do to make the whole holiday season a success from the start.

Engage and Re-Engage Over the Holidays

Everyone knows there’s an increase in communications, advertisements and product promotions during the holidays. You need to reach your consumers on mobile multiple times to make an impression and stand out. Invest in mobile ads and increase the sends on your email marketing campaigns. Make sure you are spending with your ROI in mind. You will benefit from connecting with your consumers multiple times, and you will learn more about what they want. Do the research in advance and set up targeted cohorts for your Black Friday push. Learn from the data you receive on Black Friday success and adjust your campaign for another strong and informed push on Cyber Monday.

If you make money from mobile commerce, both Black Friday and Cyber Monday are important days for your business. However, you should put more of your budget into Black Friday. Reach your customers with just what they’re looking for at just the right time, targeting them on Black Friday, learning from what works on Black Friday and then pushing again on Cyber Monday. While Black Friday clearly shines the brightest, you have a real chance to win big on mobile by investing in both.

John Krystynak is the CTO of AppLovin.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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